The New York Post is seeking to keep its top editor from having to answer questions in a bias lawsuit about his discussions with media mogul Rupert Murdoch over a published cartoon that appeared to liken US President Barack Obama to a chimpanzee.
Calling the February 2009 cartoon "quintessential political speech entitled to the strongest protections of the First Amendment," the newspaper in a court filing late Friday night also said the discussions were irrelevant to the lawsuit brought by Sandra Guzman, a former associate editor.
In November 2009, Guzman, who is black and Puerto Rican, sued the Post, its editor Col Allan and its parent News Corp for alleged discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, gender and national origin, saying she had been fired in retaliation for complaints over inappropriate conduct.
She also claimed to have objected to the cartoon, which referred to the $787 billion federal economic stimulus and depicted a policeman shooting a crazed chimpanzee, a play on an actual incident in Connecticut. Many people thought the animal was meant to depict Obama, and Murdoch later apologized to readers.